living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Seasons

Let’s just be real. Who actually enjoys pregnancy and birth?

Ok, so maybe you were the glowing mom-to-be with a ‘perfect” pregnancy. Please don’t tell me about it; I might just go throw up again. 🙂 But for me, pregnancy is difficult and birth….well, I’m not sure ANY ONE on this planet could possible enjoy the pain and travail that comes in those hours of labor (hence. the word “labor”).

Birthing a baby is one of the hardest things a woman may EVER have to go through, but when that baby has been delivered, all negative thoughts vanish and it’s one of the most glorious of moments. As you cuddle that sweet baby on your chest, you feel that it was worth it all.

The process, however, was difficult–9 months of your body rebelling and refusing to allow you comfort and of sleepless nights and, then, the finale, birth.

YET, mamas, do you realize this is just a season. This is a season of 9 months and then it’s over (….and then you really have no sleep). …but seriously, it is a SHORT season that births a BEAUTIFUL gift from God.

Psalms 30:5b says “…weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.”

Seasons come and go. Seasons change. Some seasons bring hurricanes, storms and power outages and other seasons bring crisp fall leaves, cozy fires and hot apple cider. Sometimes the same season can bring both.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 it says, To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace

There are seasons of endless laundry and dirty dishes.  Too quickly follows the season of elderly widowhood–less laundry and no dishes, but also an empty table.

There are seasons of diapers and doctor visits. There are seasons of tantruming toddlers screaming “NO!” and sullen teenage mood swings. There are seasons of singlehood, honeymooning, childlessness, full quivers and empty nesters.

I’m not sure what season you’re in, but I wanted to encourage you to embrace it.

We are given today and this current season of life. What are we going to do with it? Are we going to mope about our busy schedules, our sleepless nights, our empty houses or empty dreams?

Remember, dear mama, that EVERY season brings a testing to our faith. 1 Timothy 6 says, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

Let’s live today in the reality of eternity. Enjoy the blessings that God has given in this season and embrace the opportunities for the gospel. Every day is a chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to your family, to your neighbors and to all those around you.

If you are childless, you can become a mother to children around you. If you are an empty nester, pour yourself into a young mom, giving her wisdom and strength for her journey. If you have a full quiver, pour into your children the gospel and teach them to, in turn, pour the gospel into others.

We have a choice in every season, to see the blizzard and power outage OR to see the warm blankets, the candles, the comfortable, cozy home, and the fun memories being made.

Philippians 4:11 says “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Today is the day that the Lord has made. This season is the season that God has given me. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Rejoicing,

Joy

 

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A Season of Giving

The holidays are upon us!

I’m sure that you have already been looking around, wondering what to purchase this year.  It is not even Thanksgiving yet and the stores are bursting with Christmas.  My Facebook feed is filled with pictures of friends who have already decorated their homes and with stories of kids telling their mamas what they want for Christmas.  I totally get it.  I LOVE me some Christmas, but I also have to pace myself.

You see, if we zoom past Thanksgiving we miss important lessons on gratefulness….and this seems to be what our commercial “friends” down at the mall want us to think:  “Focus on what you WANT, not on what you HAVE!”  (Let alone being grateful for those things.)

Now before you start to think I’m “The Grinch”, let me tell you that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas.

I love the true meaning of the season.

I love the decorations.

I love the songs.

I love the smells.

I love the adorable Christmas plays.

I love almost everything about Christmas.

BUT, I don’t love the “GIMME” side of Christmas.

The Bible says  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35


….and so what I have tried to do in our home and hope to convey to our kids is that Christmas is a season of giving. I often bring up the fact that God gave us the best Present, Jesus,  and this is the basis for our giving.

Some of the ways we “do” Christmas:

  1.   Feeding the hungry
    1. My son figured out that the Salvation Army bell ringers collect money to feed other little boys and girls. We can not go in OR out of the stores without giving them money.
    2. We have also invited friends over that do not have a place to go during the holidays. We try to be ONE BIG family to them.
  2.   Gifting
    1. Neighbors: Every year we make or buy a gift for all of our neighbors. This is just our way of sharing God’s love with them.  Avs loves to go and help me deliver them. This is a highlight of our Christmas
    2. Teachers and Friends:  We also make little gifts and presents for our kids’ teachers as well as close friends.  We LOVE to gift.
    3. Extended Family:  This year “A” and “T” took their own money from their piggy banks and went to the dollar store and bought each of their cousins a gift.  We gave them a few tips, but mostly the gifts were their own ideas.  This was a sacrifice on their part but they LOVED it. Then when we got home, they helped me wrap those gifts.  “A” wrote the names and “T” put a bow on each package.
    4. Close Family:  We take the kids out and let them buy a nicer gift for each other as well as their parents.  We help them with the selections and use some of our money so they can do this. They love being a part of the gifting process.
  3.   Christmas Day
    1. On Christmas Day, we begin the day by reading the Christmas story. Then we let the kids GIVE their gifts.  We make a big deal out of this and they get a lot of enjoyment from it.  Presents are opened up one person at a time.  This helps us all to fully enjoy the gift-giving process and is much more meaningful.  This is all our kids have known and they love it.

My children know the story of baby Jesus and they are starting to realize what a sacrifice He made.  We are trying to teach them that it’s not about being good and getting BUT about sacrifice, gratitude and giving.

It is sooooo much fun to give!!!!   Let’s pass this on to our children.

How much fun would it be this Christmas if your child’s BIGGEST smile came from giving someone else a present RATHER than getting a toy that he will only use for a short time! – Rejoicing in the Present

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My Calling

I started this post months ago but just never could pull together my heart on this issue.

Then, it all finally came together, but in a really different way.

My daughter woke up early Sunday morning vomiting; because I couldn’t sleep and she wanted to be held, I decided, while I held her, to read a book, GLOBAL SOCCER MOM, which I will discuss in another blog. As I read about this soccer mom who was fighting AIDS, the desire to do “something more” stirred in me again.

Ironically before I went to sleep the night before, I had read the article When You Want To Do Great Things for God and He Keeps Calling You to Be a Mom.

So, with both of these thoughts clashing in my brain, I simply let my memories and thoughts take over.

I thought about the sweet chubby little princess in my arms who was battling a fever and just needed her mommy.

…but then I remembered my months in Africa as a single missionary.

I thought of my sweet son who was learning and growing in Kindergarten.

…but then I remembered my desires to be “Run Ma Run,” William Carey or a Katie Davis, (a superhero for the cause of Christ.)

Finally, I thought of Susanna Wesley, the mother of Charles Wesley and John Wesley. …and I let my mind rest.

She taught her children.

She helped provide for them.

She cared for them.

She fought for them.

She was an intentional mom.She was just a mom, …but she was JUST the mother of some amazing men.

You see, God called her to something great. -> It was motherhood.

Moms, I know, I know…it looks like another load of laundry. It looks like another meal. It looks like another child’s book, read for the tenth time.

…but Mommy, it is more…

Proverbs 31 says “She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens…. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Oh, my dear moms, it is so much more. Motherhood is a HUGE calling. These kiddos are our next generation. You may be raising a John Wesley, a Katie Davis, a Hudson Taylor or a Nancy Leigh DeMoss. You never know.

So, instead of ministering at church and reaching into other people’s lives, T & I sat and cuddled. We watched her favorite songs on YouTube like Jesus Loves Me and we sang. We read a whole basket of books and we worshiped Jesus together.

It was beautiful!

It was and is my highest calling. I love ministry. I enjoy working but my children are God’s assignment to me. If they are not getting the care they need, then I need to step down from my other positions.

Because THIS, my dear friends, is my calling. – Rejoicing in the Present